Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TAG Heuer Monaco 40th anniversary editions

TAG Heuer Monaco 40th anniversary special limited editionTAG Heuer Monaco 40th anniversary special edition
Years ago, it was very rare that you would come across a square faced watch. Therefore, when TAG Heuer released the Monaco, it really stood out from the crowd. Not just for the fact that it was a square faced watch, but that it was one of the first water-resistant watches in the world. Now, years later, TAG Heuer brings to us special limited editions for the 40th anniversary of the TAG Heuer Monaco. Yes, you read it right; I said editions with an “s.” The first is a limited series model of only 1,000 pieces weighing in at $10,000. It resembles the exact watch seen in the 1971 movie, Le Mans, worn by Steve McQueen. It houses the Caliber 11, the original movement, which has a microrotor winding and features the crown on the left side of the case. To honor “The King of Cool,” engraved on the back of the watch is, “In tribute to Steve McQueen,” as well as the signature of Jack Heuer.

The case is 38mm and features a blue dial, the same shade as the watch in Le Mans, the red chronograph second hand and is water-resistant to 50 meters (164 feet). It offers two different types of straps. The first is a blue alligator band and the second is a punched calfskin band, resembling the one on the original Monaco. The second anniversary edition of the TAG Heuer Monaco is slightly different and not limited. It has a bit bigger case, 39mm, the crown is on the “right” side, and it features the Caliber 12 movement. Also, it is has a higher water-resistance of 100 meters with a sapphire crystal caseback. The biggest difference of all is the price. This second edition comes in at a much lower price tag of only $4,500. There is a certain uniqueness, as well as history, that follow these four-sided chronographs, and no matter which one you fancy, the TAG Heuer Monaco is bound to catch the eye.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea

Rolex Sea-Dewller Deepsea pictureRolex Sea-Dewller Deepsea picture
In 1926, Rolex introduced the world’s first truly water-resistant watchcase, the Oyster. The Submariner, Rolex’s first diving watch, was presented in 1953. Now, fifty-six years later, they continue to create breakthroughs and first time introductions for their watches. Just recently, Rolex has introduced the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea, which offers a water-resistance level of 3,900 meters (12,800 feet), but that is what the bezel states. The watch is actually tested at 4,900 meters (16,000 feet), a 25 percent higher water-resistant pressure than the guarantee. The only watch to every achieve a greater depth was in 1960 when Jacques Piccard (Swiss scientist adventurer) and Don Walsh (U.S. Navy lieutenant) descended 10,916 meters (roughly 35,800 feet) into the Marinas Trench, the deepest point in the earth’s surface. They brought with them the Rolex Deepsea Special, which never was series produced because it was too massive for everyday wear. Now, years later, with much dedication and diligence Rolex brings us a very robust diving watch that combines a classic everyday look with the highest water-resistance available than any other mechanical watch in the world!

It was not easy for Rolex to make a sports watch that offers so much and is still wearable. Implemented, is the new-patented “Ring Lock System,” which consists of three pressure-absorbing elements: the 5.5-millimeter thick sapphire crystal, the 3.28-millimeter thick Grade 5 titanium caseback, and a ring, made of BioDur 108 steel. The ring is set inside the case middle as extra support for the crystal and caseback. Both the case and bracelet are made of 904L steel. Unlike the commonly used 316L steel, 904L steel is less likely to corrode from saltwater. Another new aspect, called “Glidelock,” is featured on the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea, which refers to one of two ways to extend the bracelet. Still offering the “Fliplock” feature, the 1.8-centimeter fold-out section, the Glidelock enables you to expand the bracelet in increments of 1.8-millimteres up to a total of 1.8-centimters. One of the greatest improvements on the beautiful timepiece is the ceramic bezel. Unlike the previous bezel used in the Sea-Dweller, which had an aluminum insert that lost its appearance easily, the Deepsea features a bezel made of Cerachrom, a high-tech scratch resistant ceramic.

In addition, there are minute markers all the way around the bezel that are, as well as the numerals, filled with platinum. Depending on how the light hits the bezel, it can look either black or gray. In regards to the sapphire crystal, I am sorry to say that it is not anti-reflective, and therefore shimmers as much as the bezel. I was very surprised to find this out; however, the positive aspect is the dial has a matte black finish, opposite to the glossy finish offered by other Rolex diving watches, so the readability is not sacrificed. The one thing I really like about the dial is that it illuminates blue instead of the previous green. The reason for this is because blue light is easier to distinguish when underwater than green light. Expecting nothing less, the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea houses the caliber 3135 movement, one of the most well-built and accurate automatic movements available. Combing the quality of the balance bridge and hairspring to the overall thickness of the movement, it is sure to offer durability. Even though this shinny steel timepiece has a hefty price tag of $9,250, the improvements made and quality offered by Rolex is unsurpassed.

Pictures are from Rolex

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tissot T-Touch Expert

Tissot T-Touch Expert watch pictureTissot T-Touch Expert watch pictureTissot T-Touch Expert watch picture
A guy that I work with just recently got back from a cruise and purchased a watch on the ship. When he was wearing it on his first day back, other people in the office were admiring the touch screen watch he had on. When I walked over to his desk to check out the watch, I saw he was wearing the Tissot T-Touch Expert titanium. The T-Touch Expert is a great rugged sports watch that is well equipped for outdoor adventures. Both the case and bracelet are titanium, making the watch very light, but still durable. It offers a sapphire crystal glass with a black carbon dial. It is much more than a watch; it is the perfect instrument for orienteering, trekking and even skiing. In addition to telling time, the Tissot T-Touch offers six different operations, which are activated by just touching the screen.

The main functions are located around the dial. You can activate any of the functions by pressing the main button at the 3 o’clock position. Once you press the button, you will see a flashing “T” at the bottom of the screen. At that point, you are able to choose what function you want the watch to display. The six functions available (clockwise on the dial) are labeled Meteo, Altimeter, Chrono, Compass, Alarm, Thermo. Meteo, also known as weather mode, displays weather trends, relative pressure, and absolute pressure. If the trend is improving (getting sunny), the hands will turn to the right from 1-6 minutes, and if the trend is deteriorating (precipitation), the hands will turn to the left from negative 1-6 minutes.

The Altimeter calculates the atmospheric pressure to give you an altitude reading in either meters or feet. You are able to get more altitude data by touching the Altimeter area again. Every two seconds the information will display: elapsed time, total gain in altitude, vertical speed of ascent, total loss in altitude, speed of decent, and back to stopped or elapsed time – very impressive! Moving along the dial of the Tissot T-Touch Expert, the Chrono function (chronograph and timer) can measure a short time with an accuracy of 1/100th of a second, as well as obtain cumulative, and split time readings. As stated before, this watch is ideal for trekking and orienteering because of its unique compass feature. While in Compass mode, the hour and minute hands straighten out, having the minute hand pointing north. You can also use the rotating bezel to help with navigation. In addition, while still in Compass mode, you can access Azimuth mode by touching the Compass a label a second time. Azimuth mode is used for navigation purposes and provides a given angle showing which way to travel.

The Alarm feature is self-explanatory, but I think it is useful that it offers a second reminder alarm, just in case. This would be ideal for those who like to hit the snooze button before getting up. The final indicator on the face of the Tissot T-Touch Expert is Thermo, which stands for thermometer. The Thermo function will read the outside temperature in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. To get an accurate reading, you should take off the watch fifteen minutes prior to measuring. Otherwise, you the results could be inaccurate due to your body temperature. It was fun learning and messing around with all of the features this watch has to offer. I am very impressed with the watch and I am confident in saying that if I were to get lost while on an outdoor adventure; this titanium timepiece would bring me back to civilization.

Breitling Navitimer 125e Anniversaire

Breitling Navitimer 125e Anniversaire watch pictureBreitling Navitimer 125e Anniversaire watch picture

To celebrate 125 years of their dominance in the aviation world, Breitling has unveiled the Breitling Navitimer 125e Anniversaire watch. Recognizing five generations, from 1884 – 2009, Breitling limited this watch to only 2,009 pieces. This exclusive special edition is a 43mm steel case with sapphire crystal and features alternating satin-brushed and polished surfaces. To compliment the case, the watch features a new original bracelet called Air Racer. The Air Racer bracelet is a sleek, steel band with punched holes. The Breitling Navitimer 125e Anniversaire is a self-winding 38-jewel chronograph, chronometer and geared up with the exclusive Breitling Caliber 26 movement.

Because the Breitling Navitimer chronograph plays an essential role in its industry for pilots, it is considered the Bentley of watches. Of course, a Navitimer would not be the same without the slide rule rotating bezel. The highly functional bezel allows pilots to compute all airborne navigation calculations, which I have listed in my previous post about the Breitling Navitimer Datora. The Breitling Navitimer 125e Anniversaire is a commemorative piece, which acknowledges the dedication and precision that Breitling has put into their watch making for over century. It is no surprise that Breitling has earned the pleasure of being the ‘official supplier to world aviation’.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Patek Philippe Seal

Patek Philippe seal picturePatek Philippe seal on movement picture
In the spring of 2009, a new tradition will begin for Patek Philippe. Each mechanical movement on all of the watches will contain an imprinted, exclusive Patek Philippe Seal. For over a century, the criterion of the Geneva Seal has been acknowledged in the development and completion of Patek Philippe’s mechanical movements. The seal classifies the minimum quality levels to be attained and being true to its tradition of ongoing innovation, the Patek Philippe never stops its quest for continuous improvements regarding the performance of its timepieces. Patek Philippe is a "complete" manufacture that produces its watchcases and other key exterior elements in-house.

Consequently, the quality requirements at Patek Philippe communicate not just about the movements, but also to the entire finished product. The Patek Philippe Seal is the watch industry’s most exclusive trademark of quality. It not only applies to the movements: it encompasses cases, dials, hands, pushers, spring bars for straps, etc, as well as the aesthetic and functional aspects of the finished watches. Furthermore, given the fact that a Patek Philippe watch is primarily a device that measures time, the Patek Philippe Seal makes a statement regarding its rate accuracy.

The rate accuracy of Patek Philippe timepieces is checked in several phases during the development of the watch. Initially it is tested with an uncased movement and later with the finished watch. Additionally, the Patek Philippe Seal guarantees the quality of all materials used. This applies to the precious metals and stones that are used, which are always of the finest quality. The diamonds selected by the manufacture are marvelously cut, flawless, and pure white Top Wesselton grades. The Patek Philippe Seal, starting in the spring of 2009, will progressively replace the Geneva Seal; currently the trademark of all mechanical movements designed by Patek Philippe.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TAG Heuer Carrera: why go fake?

TAG Heuer Carrera watch pictureI think any watch lover can recall a time where they encountered a fake or replica watch; they might even have a story behind it. I was reading an article on a watch blog I enjoy following, Fratellowatches.com, I saw that there is an anti-counterfeiting campaign named “Fake watches are for fake people” launched by Haute Horlogerie and the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, which I too, sincerely support. After reading this, I remembered a similar situation I was in when I came across a man wearing a fake TAG Heuer Carrera chronograph. Even worse than buying the replica watch, the man was acting as if it were the real deal. One night my girlfriend and I went out for dinner and a movie. As we were sitting in the theater, waiting for the movie to start, I noticed a younger couple in front of us. Assuming from the conversation I would say this was their first date. I noticed a TAG Heuer Carrera chronograph with the black dial on the man’s wrist. The girl he was with must have noticed his watch as well because, not even three minutes later, he started telling her how much he spent and how he obtained the watch.

As I was listening to the elaborate story he was telling his date, I noticed some discrepancies with the watch. Sitting behind him, of to the side, I was in a perfect position to see the face of the watch. I noticed that that the two white dials on top of each other were a lot smaller than normal. In fact, they should appear bigger than the dial on the left, but instead they were the same size. In addition, the hash marks at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 positions were the same size as the others. On a real TAG Carrera, those hash marks are shorter. At that moment, I thought to myself, “Is this guy wearing a fake TAG Heuer and pretending it is real, just to impress his date?” I thought the deception had ended, but then came my final confirmation that this guy was wearing a fake watch. He told her that he paid over $4,000 for the watch. She might have been impressed, because now she thinks he has money, but I know that a TAG Heuer Carrera chronograph retails for $3,200. The picture I have displayed is the what the real model looks like. As I said before, I do not condone buying a replica of any brand. I would not feel comfortable going out somewhere and having someone compliment me on my watch, knowing that it is not real.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hublot Black Caviar Bang

Hublot Black Caviar Bang watch pictureHublot Black Caviar Bang watch picture
As I was reading about Hublot watches one night, I came across a watch that was said to be worth a million dollars. I read it a second time just to be sure then asked myself, “One million dollars?” I know time is money, but I did not know it was worth that much. The watch having this value is the Hublot Black Caviar Bang. I learned that the Hublot Black Caviar Bang is part of the "million dollar watch club”, which refers to a number of various watch companies who have presented watches with prices of one million dollars or more. The reason for the hefty price tag is that it features an 18K white gold case with 531 precision cut black diamonds.

There are 322 diamonds on the case, 179 on the bezel, and 30 on the clasp of the black rubber strap, totaling 34.5 carats! As you can see on the face, this unique masterpiece shows the one-minute tourbillon and a power reserve meter. The Hublot Black Caviar Bang is a manual hand winding movement, which has an estimated power reserve of 5 days (120 hours). Creatively, the power reserve meter is displayed with an arc of black diamonds. Over 2000 meticulous hours were required to set each diamond. If there was even the slightest misalignment, the whole setting had to be redone. This rare and sumptuous watch is so limited; it is the only one of its kind.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rolex Datejust

Rolex Datejust watch pictureRolex Datejust watch picture
Every day I take the train into the city to go to work. As I was on the train heading home one night, I was looking at the April issue of Watch Time magazine. The man sitting to my left, who I recognized from taking the train every day, said to me, “That’s a great magazine isn’t it?” After agreeing with him, he introduced himself as Kevin. He complimented the watch I was wearing, which was my gold Bulova watch with a rectangular black dial. As we started talking watches, he pointed out his Rolex Datejust that his wife had bought him for an anniversary gift. It is a self-winding, official chronometer, 36mm with a fluted bezel, Jubilee bracelet, and has a silver dial with a Cyclops date magnifier. When his wife gave it to him the original dial had the numbered hour markings, but Kevin replaced the dial showing the Roman numeral hour markings.

He was saying how he always wanted a Rolex watch because he felt it made a statement. I understand what he was talking about, but personally, I enjoy watches for different reasons. As well as the history behind some great timepieces, the time and dedication put into perfecting the movements and precision of a watch is amazing. For example, I told Kevin something that he did not know about his watch, which was that the Rolex Datejust that launched in 1945 was the first watch to display the date. As the conversation continued, I told him about my watch blog. At first when I told him about the blog he looked puzzled, but went on to say he thought the concept of posting my pictures and stories about watches was a great idea. When I asked him if I could do a post on his watch, he responded with an enthusiastic, “Absolutely!” The next time I saw Kevin on the train, a few days later, he told me that he was now looking at watches differently; not as much as a personal statement, but as he said, “A work of art.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Eight Days Perpetual SQ

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Eight Days Perpetual SQJaeger-LeCoultre Master Eight Days Perpetual SQ

Every time I see this watch, my eyes cannot look away, as if I am mesmerized. This watch is truly striking! I have always loved seeing a skeletonised movement through a transparent watchcase. There are similar looking timepieces by watchmakers such as Breguet and Maurice Lacroix, but this particular watch, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Eight Days Perpetual SQ, is unique. From the look to the function, it is a very creative and extremely decorative watch. It features 260 moving parts and is the only manual winding perpetual calendar watch to have an 8-day power reserve.

Each openworked movement of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Eight Days Perpetual SQ takes two months to create. It has a platinum, 42mm case with a leather double folding buckle. As stated previously, this watch features a perpetual calendar, which shows the date, month, year, and the day of the week. In addition, it displays the moon phases, a day and night indicator, and power reserve meter. Each feature has a transparent disc that rotates over a lighter-colored component, which then reveals the value. From the unmatched nature to the artisanship of this watch, this meticulously crafted work of art truly stands out from the crowd. Jaeger-LeCoultre reference: Q16164SQ

Friday, May 1, 2009

Breitling Navitimer Datora

Breitling Navitimer Datora watch pictureBreitling Navitimer Datora watch pictureBreitling Navitimer Datora watch picture

After a full day of work, some friends and I wanted to hang out and get some drinks. As we walk up to the bar, we notice there are three chairs open next to these two younger businessmen. We figured they were lawyers because as they were eating, we heard them talking about winning a big defense case that day. The gentleman on the end asked my friend, Bryan, if he could pass down the ketchup. As Bryan reached out to hand him the bottle, they guy was distracted by my friends watch. Bryan has the two-tone Citizen Eco-Drive sports watch (which I will feature in a later post). It is a 44mm, perpetual calendar chronograph with a white dial and because it is the Eco-Drive, you never have to change a battery. The businessman said, “You have a Breitling too?” We couldn’t tell if he was being smug or not, because the Citizen watch could look like a Breitling Avenger at a quick glance. Bryan responded with, “No, it’s a Citizen Eco-Drive” and the guy was shocked.

He said he just bought his Breitling watch, and thought that the watch Bryan has looked similar to another model he was considering. With me being a watch enthusiast I asked, “Which model do you have?” He pulled his sleeve up and showed us a Breitling Navitimer Datora. It is a 43mm steel watch with a bidirectional, slide rule bezel. The day and month are displayed next to each other in their own aperture and the date is located in the inner dial indicated by the red half moon pointer. The Breitling Navitimer Datora is a very impressive watch, which is used by many pilots. You are able to multiply, divide and calculate ground speed, miles per minute, gasoline consumption along with rate/distance of climb or decent. So, it turned out the guy wasn’t being smug, he really enjoys watches. I told the guy about my blog and he thought it sounded great, so he had no problem when I asked to take some pictures of his watch. Bryan had his camera in the car and I set up my gray fleece as a backdrop. I am really pleased with the pictures I got. I think that they are good quality considering the lighting. Breitling reference: A21330